Nadler To Hold Hearing On State Secrets

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June 1, 2009 2:47 p.m.

We’ve told you about one way in which President Obama has so far continued his predecessor’s tactics: by invoking the state secrets privilege to argue for the dismissal of lawsuits in the war on terror.

And now Congress will consider reforming the State Secrets Act, in an effort to make it more difficult to invoke it when national security concerns are not truly at take.Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), who chairs the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties subcommittee of the House Judiciary committee, will host hearings Thursday to examine how to curb abuse of the privilege, while protecting true state secrets.

As a candidate, Obama criticized President Bush for being too quick to invoke the privilege. But since taking office, his administration has angered civil libertarians by likewise invoking it in cases involving warrantless wiretapping and renditions.

Testifying at Nadler’s hearings will be Patricia Wald, a retired federal judge; Asa Hutchinson, the former GOP congressman from Arkansas; Ben Wizner of the ACLU; and Andrew Grossman of the Heritage Foundation.

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